A woman was rescued by her friends after a cougar “latched on to her” and inflicted injuries on her face and neck – with the group pinning the animal down with a bicycle.

The 60-year-old was cycling in a group of five when she was attacked by the animal on a mountain trail near Fall City in Washington State on Saturday afternoon.

Carlo Pace, an officer with the Department of Fish and Wildlife, told local media that the friends were able to “pin down a good size lion with its claws and teeth and everything else under a mountain bike until we arrived” – and had “a struggle with this animal”.

He added: “They did fight back. If it wasn’t for these people the lady that was attacked would be in much worse shape.”

Mr Pace said the group were riding near a creek that is a cougar’s “natural place” to follow prey.

“These bicyclists happened to be in that place,” he added. “Wrong place, wrong time.”

The woman has since been released from hospital, while the cougar was shot dead and killed by wildlife police.

Witnesses reportedly saw a second cougar running through the area at the time of the attack. Officers failed to locate the animal during a search.

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The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife said officers removed a 34kg (75lbs) cougar from the scene – and its body was being sent to a local university lab for examination.

Officials expect to learn the cougar’s age, body condition and whether it had a disease, the department said.

Mr Pace said cougars typically keep away from people, adding that there have been 22 fatal cougar attacks in Washington state – including two that were fatal – in the last century.

In July 2023, an eight-year-old on a camping trip in Olympic National Park in Washington sustained minor injuries in a cougar attack.

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